Illustration for article titled U.S. Military Contractors Involved In Sex Trafficking, Smuggling On Iraq Base: Report

Employees involved in an internal investigation of a U.S. contractor in Iraq found evidence that employees for the company, Sallyport Global, were involved in sex trafficking and “routinely flew in smuggled alcohol” to its base, according to an explosive report from The Associated Press. In one instance, a plane reportedly seesawed on a tarmac due to the huge amount of booze it was carrying.

But “Sallyport regularly shut down their probes,” the AP reports, “and failed to report their findings to the U.S. government that was footing the bill.”


The AP’s report describes a chaotic working environment for Robert Cole and Kristie King, the two investigators who, just two months ago, found themselves “surrounded by armed guards, disarmed, detained against their will — and fired without explanation.” The pair was working for Sallyport, which the AP says has received nearly $700 million in contracts to secure an Iraq base that’s integral to the U.S.-aided effort to fight the ISIS.

The company told the AP that it abides by contracting rules and it take “any suggestion of wrongdoing” seriously.

The news agency obtained more than 150 documents and interviewed more than a half-dozen former and current employees, and found the contractor “ran amok after being hired for lucrative and essential combat support operations.”


Here’s one snippet:

According to investigative documents and people who watched the smuggling in action, three empty suitcases would routinely be loaded onto a flight to Baghdad. Each time, the bags came back with plastic water bottles filled with liquor. When they were unloaded, the bags were not searched but taken directly outside to be picked up — a serious security risk in a war zone.


Once, [Steve Anderson, who worked on flight logistics, said] he watched a plane that was being unloaded tip nose-forward on its wheels onto the tarmac because it was so overloaded.

“I could hear the people inside the aircraft yelling. I never seen anything like that in my entire life,” he recalled. “It was like a seesaw.”

Then out came the telltale bags that he watched get shepherded around security.

I don’t want to give away too much, but there was also an instance of a bunch of local jamokes just straight up taking out a bunch of massive generators while guards watched. Head over to the AP and check out the entire wild read here.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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